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Accidents Involving Disabled Vehicles

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Accidents Involving Disabled Vehicles

disabled vehicles

Did you know that if you are stranded on the shoulder or side of a road because of your disabled car, you are at a high risk of accident and injury? Nearly one in five car accidents in the US occur on the roadside or shoulder.

In addition, more than 12 percent of car crashes occurring on the shoulder of the road result in a fatality.

When you are stranded inside or outside a disabled vehicle on the highway, the motorists approaching you are likely to be traveling at dangerous speeds. If the driver is distracted, careless, or drunk, they may not be able to swiftly move out of your way to avoid a collision.

Sometimes situations such as low visibility, inclement weather, or the blocked view of the motorist due to a large truck ahead may lead to a crash with your disabled car.

Types of Disabled Vehicle Accidents in California

Roadside and shoulder of road crash in California involving disabled vehicles may occur in these typical situations:

  • A negligent motorist fails to notice your disabled vehicle and hits your stopped car while you are inside.
  • A negligent motorist fails to notice you while you are outside your vehicle and hits you.
  • A poorly managed construction site or faulty road design causes a motorist to hit your disabled vehicle on the roadside.
  • A careless motorist is maneuvering haphazardly or switching lanes aggressively, which causes them to hit your disabled vehicle.

In the following video, a motorcyclist was killed when he hit a disabled car on State Route 91 in Cerritos, California.

San Bernardino Man Awarded $46 Million in Damages

In August 2016, a San Bernardino man was awarded damages worth $46 million for the catastrophic injuries he sustained in a roadside accident involving a Nissan delivery driver.

The victim was waiting on the shoulder of the road when the defendant’s motorist struck him. The massive impact caused severe leg injuries to the victim, as a result of which his left leg had to be amputated, and his spleen had to be removed due to lacerations.

In just two hours, the jury arrived at a unanimous decision, holding the defendant (Nissan) liable for paying $46 million to the victim. The award included $6 million towards the pain and suffering, $2 million towards future medical costs, and $38 million towards future pain and suffering.

Can the Manufacturer be Liable for a Disabled Vehicle Crash?

In a situation where the driver had diligently maintained the vehicle, but it still became disabled because of a basic manufacturing defect, the law of product liability may apply.

The injured victim in this type of disabled vehicle accident in California could be eligible to receive damages from multiple parties, including the vehicle manufacturer.

Safety Tips for Drivers Stranded on the Roadside 
  • If you get stuck in the center of a road, make sure to leave your car’s hood up to signal to other vehicles that something is wrong.
  • Switch on the hazard lights of your vehicle. If you decide to stay inside your car, keep your seat belt on. Remember, you are at the risk of getting hit from behind by a driver who is not paying enough attention to the road.
  • Call 911 from your cell phone if you feel you are in a hazardous situation. If your cell phone battery is exhausted, you could use a call box on a bridge, highway, or freeway to request for your vehicle to be towed. But make this call only if you can manage it safely.
The Doctrine of Comparative Negligence in California

If you are partly to blame for your disabled vehicle accident in California, you would still be eligible to claim compensation from the other at-fault driver, irrespective of how much blame you share.

However, your compensation amount will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. For instance, you can be 90% at fault for your accident, but you can still recover 10% damages from the other at-fault party. In that sense, California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

To maximize your chances of recovery in a disabled car crash, you should have the best Sacramento personal injury lawyer on your side. Call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on AvvoGoogle, and Yelp and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.31.21]

Photo by: ab

:br cha [cs 780]